Ashland, New Hampshire

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Ashland is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,955 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 2,085.[1] Located near the geographical center of the state, Ashland is home to Scribner-Fellows State Forest.



Ashland was once the southwestern corner of Holderness, chartered in 1751 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth. But hostilities during the French and Indian War delayed settlement, and in 1761, it was regranted as New Holderness (although "New" would be dropped in 1816). Settled in 1763, the town was predominantly agricultural except for Holderness Village on the Squam River, with falls that drop about 112 feet (34 m) before meeting the Pemigewasset River. The falls provided water power for mills, and in 1770-1771, a sawmill and gristmill were built. The Squam Lake Woolen Mill was established in 1840. Goods manufactured at local factories included hosiery, gloves, sporting equipment, wood products and paper. [2]

The Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad entered in 1849, carrying freight but also tourists bound for hotels on the Squam Lakes, to which they traveled by steamer up the Squam River. The interests of the industrialized settlement increasingly diverged from those of the farming community, however, and in 1868 Holderness Village was set off as Ashland, named for Ashland, the Kentucky estate of Henry Clay. The last textile mill, the L.W. Packard Company, would close in 2002, and Ashland is today a residential and resort community. [3]

Downtown c. 1912

Mill dam c. 1910

View of the mills c. 1908


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.7 square miles (30 km2), of which 11.2 sq mi (29 km2) is land and 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2) is water, comprising 3.84% of the town. Bounded on the west by the Pemigewasset River, Ashland is drained by the Squam River and Owl Brook. Little Squam Lake is on the eastern boundary. The highest point in Ashland is Hicks Hill, at 1,386 feet (422 m) above sea level. Ashland lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.[4]

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